Alabama records 6,750 cases of coronavirus with 242 deaths; Greene Co. has 47 cases and one death

Mobile Health Unit from Maude Whatley Health Center conducts Coronavirus testing on Greene County Courthouse Square on Tuesday, April 29, 2020.
Eutaw Police Chief, Derick Coleman, presents a Teddy Bear toy to a small child as consolation to calm her just before COVID-19 test was administered on Tuesday.

As of 9:00 AM on April 29, 2020, the New York Times compilation of coronavirus data shows 6,750 confirmed cases in Alabama with 242 deaths. In Greene County there are 47 confirmed cases with one death.
74,000 people in Alabama have been tested for the virus, which is 1.4 per cent of the total population of the state that has been tested.
Maude Whatley Health Services from Tuscaloosa had a mobile unit at the Courthouse Square in Eutaw on Tuesday and tested 70 more Greene County residents.
A chart from the New York Times data center shows that Alabama is still experiencing 200 new cases per day down from highs of 300 per day earlier in the month.
Nationally the United States has over a million cases with over 58,000 deaths, in three months, more than the total number of people killed in the Vietnam War, which lasted a decade.
Some states have begun to relax economic and business closures. In Georgia, the Governor has agreed to open personal care businesses, like barbershops, retail stores and restaurants, with some social distancing regulations.
Governor Kay Ivey issued a “Safer at Home” order allowing retail establishments to open with a maximum capacity of 50% with physical distancing and regular sanitation by end of this week. She also reopened Alabama’s Gulf Coast beaches and allows for drive church services, funerals and other gatherings. Restaurants and personal service businesses will be closed for another 15 days with the exception of drive-through and take-out food services.
Meetings of people are limited to ten and must abide by social distancing. For Greene County, officials met and put out an informational briefing urging people to abide by CDC and ADPH regulations.
The information brief contains this warning, “There is mutual agreement between county law enforcement and city law enforcement to assist each other in all matters relating to coronavirus. Going forward, any gathering exceeding the emergency mandates of 10 persons will be issued citations that may result in fines and/or possible jail time.”
Greene County
Nursing Home
Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO and Administrator of the Greene County Health System indicated that they were able to test all residents of the Greene County Nursing Home for the virus. The Democrat has learned that half of the residents have tested positive for the virus but most of these were asymptomatic, showing no symptoms of the virus.
Eight (8) positive Nursing Home residents have been transferred to other hospitals for treatment because of their underlying heath conditions. One transferred resident has died. The Nursing Home is expecting many of its transferred patients to be returned once they have recovered.
In her statement, Dr. Pugh indicated, “Like most of the Nursing Homes throughout the state, the Greene County Nursing Home is having its share of residents and staff that are fighting COVID.
Guidelines are being received daily from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Health (ADPH). Our Administrative staff and Infection Prevention are being diligent in keeping up with the daily changes. We are actively participating in the routine statewide update calls.
We appreciate the donated supplies from all over the state that are assisting us in the fight against COVID. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) consisting of Tyvek suits, face shields, masks, shoe covers, and bonnets are used daily by our staff. Our health care team are all truly heroes in this battle.”
Dr. Pugh also stated that the Alabama National Guard was sending a team a clean and sanitize the entire facility –hospital, nursing home and physician’s clinic – on Thursday, April 30, 2020 to enhance the effectiveness of the system to withstand the virus.

Commission adopts resolution citing sheriff’s failure to provide funds for specific departmental support

The Greene County Commission met in regular session on April 13, 2020, observing the emergency precautions directed by state and national government. The commissioners and staff were positioned approximately six feet apart and wore protective masks. The number of all in attendance was kept to the maximum of ten and visitors were also seated at required distances.
The commission adopted two resolutions: One resolution, dated April 13, 2020, regarded the notice of failure of the Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison to provide funds to the Greene County Commission as stated in an earlier resolution dated December 20, 2019 as amended. The commission is requesting that the sheriff make the sums set forth in Section 9 of the December 20, 2019 Resolution within five days of this notice, otherwise, the agreement is declared null and void, but all past due sums must be paid by the sheriff. The commission will adjust the sheriff’s budget accordingly.
Another resolution certified that all members of the Greene County Commission are in full support of the ad valorem tax resolution, dated April 13, 2020.
Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO of the Greene County Health System, gave an update related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Greene County. She reported that as of April 13, there were 17 confirmed cases in Greene County. The hospital has one employee confirmed positive and the Nursing Home has two patients confirmed positive and are isolated.
Dr. Pugh also announced that on Wednesday, April 15, the Greene County Health Department would conduct testing for the virus by appointment only. The site would be opened from 10:00 a.m. to 12: noon. She also noted that the CDC is now recommending that everyone should wear a cloth face covering when out in public places.
Greene County EMA Director, Iris Sermon, gave an update local conditions. She stated that flood damage is ongoing and EMA has submitted all necessary documents. She reported that the recent storm only had a few trees and power lines down. No homes were reported damaged.
Sermon noted that the state is requesting that the county identify a mass burial site just in case it is needed. According to Sermon, the county coroner has a plan in place to evenly distribute bodies through the three local funeral homes if needed. She clarified that of the 17 positive COVID-19 cases reported for Greene County, two were erroneously attributed to Greene County.
In other business the commission acted on the following:
Approved garbage pickup for delinquent clients until Coronavirus Pandemic ends.
Approved dirt pit agreement with Don Wood.
Approved supplementary agreement with Goodwin, Mill and Cawood regarding bridge on County Road 69.
Approved financial report and payment of claims as follows: General Fund – $325,652.63;
Gasoline Fund – $223,907.17; Appraisal Fund – $10,633.65; Solid Waste – $27,0656.45; Senior Citizen Fund – $5,850.43; Federal Match – $109.09; Payroll Fiduciary – $33,818.14. Total of $627.036.56. Electronic Claims totaled $89,413.36.
The county’s bank balances as of March 20, 2020 are as follows: Citizen Trust Bank – $4,019,087.87; Merchants and Farmers Bank – $1,996,484.66; Bank of New York – $619,071.95

Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce presents awards at Sue Vance Memorial Dinner

The Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce presented awards at its annual membership meeting and Sue Vance Memorial Dinner on Thursday, March 21, 2019, held at the LAW Center. Among the award recipients were: (L to R) Rev. Christopher Spencer, Pastor of St. Matthew Watson Baptist Church for Religion, Mayor Raymond Steele of Eutaw for Government, Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO of Greene County Health System for Health Care, Dr. Carol and John Zippert, Co-Publishers of the Greene County Democrat for Communications, Beverly Gordon, Chamber President, Dan Williams, WestRock Paper Co. for Business, Nancy Cole for Education, District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne for Community Service, Delphine McKenzie for the Sue Vance Service Award. Not shown Luther ‘Nat’ Winn, Greenetrack for the Leadership Award. Before a delicious dinner of Italian food specialties, the group heard an inspirational address by Attorney John Stamps III of the Black Belt Law Center in Bessemer, Alabama, who also co-sponsored the event.

SOS alerts voters to urgency of Medicaid expansion

Shown above ANSC President John Zippert, Latasha Brown, Shelly Fearson, Senator Hank Sander, Jeanette Thomas, Johnny Ford and Faya Rose Toure

 

The Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy (SOS) a coalition of forty social justice organizations in the state, held a press conference at the State House in Montgomery, Alabama. State Senator Hank Sanders of Selma said, “We are here today to alert voters, candidates and the press to the importance of healthcare and the expansion of Medicaid in the November General Election. Governor Ivey, as Governor, can take the step of expanding Medicaid for thousands of people.” A study by the Kaiser Foundation indicates that 500 to 700 people each year in Alabama are likely to die without Medicaid expansion – so this is a matter of life and death. The Alabama Hospital Association, a trade association for over 100 hospitals in the state says, “If Alabama expands Medicaid, almost 300,000 uninsured Alabamians would receive health insurance coverage, an estimated 30,000 jobs would be created, and $28 billion in new economic activity would be generated.  Alabama would also save millions of dollars on current state services.  “On average, in Alabama, almost one out of every 10 hospital patients does not have health insurance, resulting in more than $530 million annually in uncompensated care,” said Danne Howard, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Alabama Hospital Association.  “Currently, 75 percent of Alabama’s hospitals are operating in the red, meaning the dollars they receive for caring for patients are not enough to cover the cost of that care.  Expanding Medicaid would be a significant investment in the state’s fragile health care infrastructure and would help maintain access to care for everyone.”

“In Greene County because we are a poor county, one in three patients do not have any insurance, which means we provide an average of $100,000 in uncompensated care per month. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would help people in our county whose earn less than 138% of poverty (approximately $20,000 annual for a family of four) to secure affordable health insurance coverage,” said Dr. Marcia Pugh, Administrator of the Greene County Health System. Former Mayor of Tuskegee, Johnny Ford said “The SOS Health Committee would be remiss if we did not point out that Medicaid expansion is the issue, which must be in the forefront of voter’s minds as they go to the pools in one week. Walt Maddox and the Democratic candidates for statewide office have pledged to expand Medicaid to 300,000 working poor people on their first day in office. Incumbent Governor Kay Ivey has not expanded Medicaid during her tenure. She says that the state cannot afford the costs of expanding Medicaid. She is also supporting a proposed rule change, which will eliminate 70,000 caregivers from Medicaid unless they meet a work requirement, which will also make them financially ineligible for Medicaid coverage. Maddox says that Alabama needs to help its neediest people to receive health insurance coverage to improve healthcare and economic opportunities in the State of Alabama.” John Zippert, SOS Health Committee Co-chair pointed out that since 2010 when Medicaid expansion has been available under the Affordable Care Act, Alabama has lost $7 billion in Federal support under the program. For the first three years of the program, there was no cost to the states to participate. This has increased by 2.5% a year until it reached the maximum 10% this fiscal year. In addition in coming years beginning in 2020, the disproportionate share reimbursement rate payment to rural hospitals will decline because the program assumes coverage for low-income people in the state by Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Rural hospitals in states like Alabama, that have not expanded Medicaid, will begin to take a “double-whammy” for not expanding Medicaid – more patients without insurance coupled with lower reimbursement rates. Danne Howard, with the Alabama Hospital Association, notes that a recent study showed that hospitals in expansion states were 84 percent less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states.  “Alabama has had 12 hospitals close since 2011, and more are on the verge of closing if something doesn’t change,” she added. “Plus, the economic impact in other states has been tremendous; Louisiana has added 19,000 jobs; nearly 50 percent of new enrollees in Ohio have been able to receive mental health and substance abuse treatment, and the state has seen a 17-percent drop in emergency department use; Kentucky has seen an increase in state revenues of $300 million.” SOS calls this critical issue to the attention of voters and urges every registered voter to vote on November 6, 2018 with the need for equitable health insurance coverage in mind.

Alabama Hospital Association highlights importance of expanding Medicaid

News Analysis by: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

The Alabama Hospital Association, a statewide trade organization representing 100 hospitals in the state is launching the ALhealthmatters campaign highlighting the importance of expanding Medicaid. The Association says If Alabama expands Medicaid, almost 300,000 uninsured Alabamians would receive health insurance coverage, an estimated 30,000 jobs would be created, and $28 billion in new economic activity would be generated.  Alabama would also save millions of dollars on current state services.  “On average, almost one out of every 10 hospital patients does not have health insurance, resulting in more than $530 million annually in uncompensated care,” said Danne Howard, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Alabama Hospital Association.  “Currently, 75 percent of Alabama’s hospitals are operating in the red, meaning the dollars they receive for caring for patients are not enough to cover the cost of that care.  Expanding Medicaid would be a significant investment in the state’s fragile health care infrastructure and would help maintain access to care for everyone.” “In Greene County because we are a poor county, one in three patients do not have any insurance, which means we provide an average of $100,000 in uncompensated care per month. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would help people in our county whose earn less than 138% of poverty (approximately $20,000 annual for a family of four) to secure affordable health insurance coverage,” said Dr. Marcia Pugh, Administrator of the Greene County Health System. Howard adds that hospitals and other health care providers are a critical piece of the state’s infrastructure.  “Alabama’s hospitals employ about 90,000 individuals and indirectly support another 96,000 jobs,” she said.  “Not only are they often one of the largest employers in their communities, but hospitals also have a huge economic impact on their local economy.  Statewide, the annual economic impact of Alabama hospitals is nearly $20 billion, not to mention the pivotal role access to quality health care plays in recruiting and keeping new businesses.” The Alabama Hospital Association statement indicates the importance of expanding Medicaid but does not endorse the state’s Democratic political candidates who support Medicaid expansion. Walt Maddox, Democratic candidate for Governor, in the November election, says, “ I will expand Medicaid for Alabama during the first hour of the first day that I am Governor. We will find the resources to pay our part of the costs to pay for this critical life-saving service from our people.” Incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey has not expanded Medicaid and does not intend to because of cost. State Senator Hank Sanders said, “ It is clear that on the one issue of expanding Medicaid, there is a clear distinction between the candidates for Governor on the ballot in November.

Democratic candidate Walt Maddox will expand Medicaid and help save lives in Alabama as well as expand our economy in every county, while Kay Ivey will continue to oppose this program for narrow political reasons.” Since 2010 when Medicaid expansion has been available under the Affordable Care Act, Alabama has lost $7 billion in Federal support under the program. For the first three years of the program, there was no cost to the states to participate. This has increased by 2.5% a year until it reached the maximum 10% this fiscal year. In addition in coming years beginning in 2020, the disproportionate share reimbursement rate payment to rural hospitals will decline because the program assumes coverage for low-income people in the state by Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Rural hospitals in states like Alabama, that have not expanded Medicaid, will begin to take a “double-whammy” for not expanding Medicaid – more patients without insurance coupled with lower reimbursement rates. Howard notes that a recent study showed that hospitals in expansion states were 84 percent less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states.  “Alabama has had 12 hospitals close since 2011, and more are on the verge of closing if something doesn’t change,” she added. “Plus, the economic impact in other states has been tremendous; Louisiana has added 19,000 jobs; nearly 50 percent of new enrollees in Ohio have been able to receive mental health and substance abuse treatment, and the state has seen a 17-percent drop in emergency department use; Kentucky has seen an increase in state revenues of $300 million.” The AHA study says, “Investing in the rural health care infrastructure is critical as Alabama works to improve rural prosperity.  Alabama’s rural hospitals are an anchor in their communities‒creating jobs, providing critical care, and supporting other industries.   ​“When a rural hospital closes, other mainstays in the community often follow … local pharmacies, physicians, banks, and grocery stores to name a few. When a rural hospital closes, it’s very difficult to attract new business. “ ​Throughout the next few months, hospitals will be talking with business, civic and government leaders to stress the importance of expanding Medicaid in Alabama and to share quantitative results of the positive impact it is having in other states.  For more information on the impact Medicaid expansion could have in Alabama, visitwww.alhealthmatters.com.

Bingo facilities distribute $367,525 for month of May

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Shown above Bingo Clerk Emma Jackson, Brenda Burke representing the Greene County Commission, Bingo Clerk Minnie Byrd, Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Greene County Health System CEO, Dr. Marcia Pugh, Assistance Chief Walter Beck, Probate Judge Julia Spree and Boligee Councilwoman Earnestine Wade.

 

On Friday, June 15, 2018, Greene County Sheriff Department reported a total distribution of $367,525 for the month of May from the five licensed gaming operations in the county. The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
The following assessments are for the month of May 2018.

Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Green Charity (Center for Rural Family Development) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, Greene County Health System, $7,500.
River’s Edge (NNL – Next Level Leaders and TCCTP – Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $73,225 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, and the Greene County Health System, $13,225.
Palace (Tommy Summerville Police Support League) gave a total of $99,330 to the following: Greene County Commission, $4,620; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $36,930; City of Eutaw, $27,720; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,620; Greene County Board of Education, $4,620 and the Greene County Health System, $11,550.

 

Greene County Health System (GCHS) thanks municipalities for financial contributions

Shown above Mayor of Forkland Charlie McAlpine, City Council and community members with CEO of Greene County Health System giving plaque of appreciation.

Shown above Mayor of Boligee Louis Harper, City Council and community members with CEO of Greene County Health System giving plaque of appreciation.

 

Dr. Marcia Pugh, GCHS CEO/Administrator, attended meetings of the municipal governments in Forkland and Boligee to thank the Mayors and councilmembers for assistance to the Greene County Health System. The GCHS consists of the Hospital, Residential Care Center (Nursing Home) Physicians Clinic and other ancillary health services.
On Monday night, March 5, Dr. Pugh thanked the Mayor and Council members in Forkland and presented them a plaque for their contribution of $3,499 which was used to purchase a commercial hot water heater for the hospital when the current hot water heater failed.
On Tuesday night, March 13, Dr. Pugh thanked the Mayor and Council of Boligee and presented them with a plaque for their contribution of $4,488, which was used to purchase new air conditioning units for the facility to replace units that had served their time and worn out.
Dr. Pugh also received $1,074.70 from the Town of Union, which was used to purchase a new hospital bed for the Residential Care Center, where more replacement beds are urgently needed. Dr. Pugh said she would also bring a plaque for the Town of Union at a future city council meeting.
“Our hospital is non-profit and we have a charitable foundation that can accept donations and bequests from individuals, churches, organizations, businesses and others in the community to improve and strengthen our facilities. We have a long needs list, with small and large items, if you would like to help us to enhance our facilities and services, said Pugh.
For more information contact Dr. Pugh at GCHS, 509 Wilson Avenue, Eutaw, Alabama 35462; phone: 205/372-3388; email: Marcia.Pugh@gcheutaw.com.

Dr. Marcia Pugh chosen to be new Administrator of the Greene County Health System

Dr. P H 23

The Board of Directors of the Greene County Health System (GCHS) has chosen Dr. Marcia Pugh to be its new Administrator/Chief Executive Officer. GCHS includes the Hospital, Residential Care Center (Nursing Home), Physicians Clinic and other components of the county health system.
The GCHS Search Committee received over 40 applications, interviewed 10 persons by phone and held one face-to-face interview in the process of selecting the new Administrator. The GCHS Board confirmed the selection of Pugh at its November meeting. Her first day on the job at the Hospital was Monday December 4, 2017.
Prior to joining Greene County Health System, Pugh served as Director of Grants, Research and Outreach of West AL (GROWestAL), a division of the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority based at Bryan Whitfield Hospital in Demopolis. She held a number of administrative and nursing positions with the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority at Bryan Whitfield in Demopolis, starting in 1992. Prior to her service in Demopolis, she worked with the Jefferson County Department of Health and the John A. Andrews Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Pugh earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree from the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, in 2010. She has a Masters of Nursing and Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Tuskegee University. She is an Adjunct Professor of Nursing at several colleges including Aurora University and Concordia School of Nursing of Wisconsin.

“In the resume, she submitted for the position, she listed five pages of Federal and foundation grants in the healthcare field that she had written or participated in during the past ten years,” said John Zippert, Chair of the GCHS Board of Directors. He added, “We hope that she will be able to develop similar grant programs for Greene County.”
“I’m excited and I’m humbled to be given the opportunity to lead this fantastic team of employees who put quality first in providing health services support to Greene County Health System stakeholders,” Pugh says.
“Our men and women at Greene County Hospital take pride in serving the families of this community, and I am proud to join this team.”
John Zippert, Chair of the Board of the Greene County Health System said, “We welcome Dr. Marcia Pugh and will work with her in any way possible to enhance and strengthen our Hospital and health facilities in Greene County.”
Pugh listed as her major goals for improving the status and facilities of the Greene County Hospital and Nursing Home:
•Achieve a balanced fiscal position where the Hospital, Nursing Home and Physicians Clinic will have sufficient patient income and external subsidies to cover operations;
•Expand the Emergency Care capabilities of the Hospital;
•Fill the 20 vacant beds in the GCHS Residential Care Center (Nursing Home)
•Recruit additional health care providers, i. e., physicians and nurse practioners to increase services to Greene County and surrounding residents;
•Improve the image and involvement of the Hospital and Nursing Home in the community.
Dr. Pugh has two children, Nakieta, a Clinical Psychologist and Barrown, II, a husband and devoted father. She lives in Demopolis.